Five Guys Burgers and Fries: Focus on few dishes pays off
BY SCOTT CHERRY World Restaurant Critic
Thursday, October 04, 2012
3/28/13 at 8:06 AM
Information on the website for Five Guys Burgers and Fries states all of the restaurant's burgers are cooked "juicy and well done," which seems to be a contradiction.
So I was looking forward to trying a burger from this national chain that recently opened its first store in Tulsa.
I built a cheeseburger ($5.99) that included two thin patties with mustard, grilled mushrooms, lettuce and tomatoes, and I have to admit, it might have been the juiciest well-done hamburger I have ever had.
That's not to say it was as juicy as most medium to medium-rare burgers I've encountered, but it was better than expected.
The melted cheese and mushrooms might have had something to do with the "juicy" factor. They certainly played a role in turning the burger into a gooey, three-napkin mess.
We had similar results with a regular hamburger ($5.39) dressed with mayo, lettuce, pickles, tomato and grilled mushrooms.
Just for fun we also had a hot dog ($3.59). It was a long, meaty dog that was sliced in half and served on a bun.
Five Guys offers 15 toppings, all free, to put on the burgers and hot dogs.
The menu is slim. In addition to burgers and dogs, it has Coca-Cola products, three sandwiches - veggie, cheese veggie and grilled cheese - and its signature side, french fries, cooked in no-cholesterol peanut oil.
"Five Guys believes in doing only a few things and doing them well," said general manager Liz Brown, a native of Idaho who spent the past year as GM of the Norman store.
"The potatoes go through a three-step process, including blanching, and are crispy outside and almost like mashed potatoes inside. We go through a lot of potatoes."
The fries tasted just as Brown described them, and it's easy to tell Five Guys cooks a lot of fries. A line of filled bags of potatoes serve as a barrier between the order counter and dining room.
An open kitchen behind the counter allows customers to watch the assembly line process that allows Five Guys to move multiple orders at an impressive rate. I went at an off-hour Saturday, about 3 p.m., and the line stretched from the counter almost to the front door.
I had about a 10-minute wait for the order, so I munched on some free self-serve roasted peanuts to pass the time.
All orders are served in brown paper sacks, and fries are served in paper cups and placed inside the sacks. We had a large order of fries ($4.99), and it was more than enough for two. The $2.99 regular size probably would have been enough for us.
The Five Guys chain has more than 1,000 restaurants nationwide and 1,500 more in development. It was founded in 1986 by Janie and Jerry Murrell, along with their four sons, in Alexandria, Va. Since then a fifth brother has been born.
Brown said the Tulsa store, the fourth in Oklahoma, is off to a rousing start.
"We broke the franchise record for an opening week, and we also were tops in the whole nation that week," she said.
The restaurant, located in a former More Than Noodles building, seats about 100 in blond wood tables and chairs, surrounded by shiny red and white tiles.
FIVE GUYS BURGERS AND FRIES
9635 Riverside Parkway
Service: order at counter
11 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week;
accepts all major credit cards; does
not cater but will accept call-in
Original Print Headline: Tasty simplicity
Scott Cherry 918-581-8463
A bacon cheeseburger is served with fries at Five Guys Burgers and Fries. JAMES GIBBARD / Tulsa World
Free roasted peanuts are available for customers to take to their tables. JAMES GIBBARD / Tulsa World